By Robert Wallace
President Dr Jack Taylor has announced that next year’s Piobaireachd Society Conference will be held in Glasgow at the National Piping Centre. Dr Taylor made the announcement during an interval at the Uist & Barra competition last Saturday.
Held annually since 1972, this will be the first time the conference has been held in Glasgow. The conference will also move to being a one-day affair but with a social get together on the Friday evening for those travelling from afar. The date of the conference is March 23, 2019.
For the past several years the conference has been held in a rural setting in Perthshire at either Birnam or Pitlochry. Each has been very successful but the PS committee has felt that a change was needed in order to attract a new generation of conference goers. By reducing the timescale, making travel easier and by cutting costs the Society hopes to do just that.
Fees will be kept as affordable as possible and will include a ‘no dinner’ option. Those staying overnight will find plenty of reasonably priced accommodation within walking distance of the Centre in the city’s Cowcaddens area. Transport links are exceptionally good with bus and rail stations nearby as is parking and the M8 motorway link.
The format of the day has not yet been finalised but it will consist of a substantial morning lecture, plenty of good playing, discussions on various aspects of solo piping particularly judging, and all followed by the Society’s AGM. Thereafter there will be a sumptuous dinner and the usual piping ceilidh so enjoyed by the members.
The conference will be open to non-members. Booking will be via the Society’s website in due course. Dr Taylor said: ‘We hope the change to a more central, easily accessible location will attract more people to come to the Conference. It is always a very enjoyable occasion, open to all those with any interest in ceol mor and I look forward to welcoming everyone to the Piping Centre next March.’
The Society was formed in 1903 to encourage the study and playing of piobaireachd. It has collected most of the available piobaireachd manuscripts and publishes Books 1 – 16 in its collection along with the Kilberry Book of Ceol and its ‘Sidelights’. These books have promoted the music worldwide with more tunes now being played and better understood than ever before.
In addition the Society has now developed a comprehensive website with sound files, manuscripts, new music, photographs and other information all designed to encourage the understanding and playing of piobaireachd. Their unsurpassed catalogue of recorded music is free to access for all members. Current membership of the Society stands at over 600, the highest in its history. Click here to join:
The Society also sponsors important piping competitions held annually in London and at Oban and Inverness and provides an annual teaching bursary for young pipers. This summer it promoted a successful piobaireachd concert ‘Classical Pipe Music – Scotland’s Hidden Treasure’ as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. High quality recordings were made of that evening’s performances and these can be viewed on the Society website. They feature top players Callum Beaumont, Glenn Brown, Jamie Forrester and Ian K MacDonald playing a range of ancient and modern tunes.